Self employed contractor starting maternity leave

(5 Posts)
piginpastry Mon 02-Sep-19 19:39:42

I'm a self employed contractor through a limited company and I'm currently in contract with a 4 week notice period on either side to terminate before the end of the contract. Earlier in the year I notified the company of my pregnancy as is normal with standard employment, but as my contract is due to finish on October 4th (7 weeks before EDD) there would be no need to terminate earlier. Roll forward however long and I'm really struggling... my confidence is shot, it's a mentally taxing job and I just don't feel that I'm doing a good job, everything takes twice as long, with lots of tears. As a consequence I'm not looking after myself as I'd like to; I don't have the energy to cook as I'd like to and by the time I finish work I'm too tired to go for a swim.

I had a frank conversation with my boss last week about giving my notice to finish earlier; he was very good about it but managed to persuade me to think about it and on a Friday that seemed like a good idea, but after a terrible day the thought of even 4 more weeks fills me with utter dread.

Long story short, I know that if you are in permanent employment that you can start mat leave earlier than originally planned. Does anyone know what rules might apply to self employed folk? My contract only states the 4 weeks notice. Maybe I just have to go on sick leave to leave earlier than that? I'd rather come to an agreement than go on sick which will leave others to pick up the pieces. I expect that we might find an agreement, it would just be good to know if any official laws apply. It will make no difference to pay since I only earn when I work and there is no SMP or MA to consider in my case.

Thank you in advance x

OP’s posts: |
dementedpixie Mon 02-Sep-19 20:02:54 are you sure you should be counted as self employed only? You may also be able to claim MA if you meet the eligibility criteria

piginpastry Mon 02-Sep-19 20:36:18

Technically I'm an employee, but I'm an employee of my own company, of which I am the sole director. So I do qualify for SMP, but I pay for it myself from my business retained earnings. I think it's easier overall to just continue to pay myself a salary under the tax threshold.

OP’s posts: |
flowery Mon 02-Sep-19 22:17:20

If you are an employee of your own company then you are taking maternity leave from that company. The rules still apply.

The contract between your company and your client is a commercial agreement.

Make sure you claim SMP if you’ve earned enough to be entitled to it. HMRC will pay your company more than 100% of the SMP and will also pay it out upfront.

greysdad Wed 04-Sep-19 20:38:23

Contractor of 8 years here.

Most contracts will have a substitution clause in them which states that you can provide a substitute so long as they are suitably qualified and the client is happy with them.
This is so that your company can continue to fullfil the contract if key personal assigned are no longer able to (you).
In practice though not many clients exercise this right.

I'd just have a word with your client and explain your situation, every client I have ever worked with have been totally understanding of personal circumstances and the commercial realties of enforcing contracts don't really make it worth anyone's while to hold you to such clauses.

I wouldn't just go off sick though, coming to an agreement is definitely the best path forward for all.

As others have said you should also look at what you are entitled to, your accountant should be able to help you with that.

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